Along with Christmas comes the Cross

The Lord Is My Chef Christmas Recipe for the Soul by Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II
Monday in the Octave of Christmas, Feast of St. Stephen, First Martyr, 26 December 2022
Acts 6:8-10, 7:54-59     ><))))*> + ><))))*> + ><))))*>     Matthew 10:17-22
Photo by Mr. John Ryan Jacob, 24 December 2022 in Paco, Obando, Bulacan.
Dearest Jesus:
when I was a child,
I have always wondered
how did it happen you were born
in December then suddenly in April
you died on the Cross?
Now I have grown and learned
about history and most of all about life
and living, I have realized the beautiful
truth of your coming:  you became like us
not to remove but to be one with us
in our sufferings even death
so that we may be one with you
in your Resurrection!
Thank you for this wonderful
reminder of your Christmas Octave:
your Nativity is also the feast of your final coming
when you will be surrounded by your angels
and saints like St. Stephen our first Martyr,
tomorrow by St. John the Apostle, your beloved,
and on Wednesday by the Holy Innocents.
Along came with Christmas comes also the
Cross of Good Friday!

Jesus said to his disciples: “Beware of men, for they will hand you over to courts and scourge you in their synagogues, and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake as a witness before them and the pagans. You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved.”

Matthew 10:17-18, 22
O Lord, indeed, let us
"beware of men" who forget 
that looming behind your manger
is also the Cross;
let us "beware of men" who have
commercialized and trivialized
your birth, focusing more on
happiness and fun, not even joy as
you have described at your Last Supper;
let us "beware of men" who have taken you
away from Christmas, worshipping money
and things and all that glitz and glamour of the world;
let us "beware of men" who forget the poor
and marginalized, the old and infants especially 
those in their mother's wombs;
let us "beware of men" who insist on changing 
the rules of marriage and sex according to their
selfish and truncated views on life and relationships;
let us "beware of men" who deny your Cross!
Like St. Stephen, help us Lord Jesus
to always look up to you in heaven in
prayers and sacrifices, witnessing your gospel
and your Cross, remaining faithful and true to you,
upright and decent in living, defending life and justice
without condemning nor judging our persecutors.
Amen.

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